Ford is well aware of connected hybrids. Almost ten years ago, he proposed a smart set of Energi models that confirm that drivers want to connect.

With the Fusion sedan and C-Max hatchback, these Energi products were the perfect option for electric vehicles, which we expected would stick to more. They are here. But in the age of Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightningit seems that Ford’s only plug-in hybrid, a version of the compact Escape crossover, is a bit lost.

The main thing is that Ford has not developed some ideas from its Energi models to the present. With the advent of these all-electric models, bogus hybrids can become important ancillary players today.

With the Escape Plug-In Hybrid, Ford doesn’t seem to trust the owner to use the electric motor for which they paid extra. The electric motor feels helpful to the gas engine.

EV now and later

I fully charged the 2021 Escape Plug-In Hybrid on a 25-degree winter day and then chose its “EV Now” mode when I headed out for an evening trip to see what could be the cold weather in the worst case range.

Less than a minute later – on a steep slope, at a speed of 20 miles per hour – the gasoline engine started, on the dashboard it was announced: “The engine is on for the system.”

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid – EV Now discontinued

According to the operation manual: “Your vehicle can switch to engine start mode if required by system conditions. When this happens, a message will appear. This is a normal feature of the system, and your car returns to EV Now mode if possible. ”

I rebooted twice more, and the third time was a charm. The engine remained off and allowed me to drive without emissions 22.1 miles on some commuter assignments (note in the photo below that 0.3 miles of stubborn petrol use). And it even allowed me to turn on resistive heat and climate control to keep the windows clean – not something I can claim for all PHEVs.

Of course, only the electrical range was much shorter than otherwise due to the severe cold. But it seems hard to believe that someone wouldn’t want to keep only electricity when bringing kids to school in the morning, or running fast to the grocery store, no matter how cold. This is one of the strongest options for using a plug-in hybrid, and Ford isn’t working with its own data showing – as it was boring us many years ago – that PHEV customers have been ready to connect very often.

Smart packaging and great real miles per gallon

However, you don’t give up space or utilities when choosing the Plug-In Hybrid over hybrid or non-hybrid versions. The Escape PHEV contains a 14.4 kW / h liquid-cooled battery – more than previous Energi models – under the rear seats, where it won’t interfere with the cargo floor. Ironically, the 12-volt extra battery is in a lonely place under the cargo floor, where otherwise there would be a temporary spare.

At more favorable temperatures, the battery allows you to travel 37 miles on electricity by EPA. It’s part of a hybrid transmission that includes a 2.5-liter in-line 4-hp 165bhp engine running on the Atkinson cycle focused on efficiency and emissions, and part of Ford’s fourth-generation planetary hybrid system. In total, the system delivers 200 hp when running as a hybrid, or 221 hp. with a plugin added to the mix.

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid 2022

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid 2022

Only a day later it got better. Fully charged again, I headed to a shower and a temperature of 46 degrees – a winter foothold in Portland – and took the train for over 27 miles. I followed a cycle that I did in a number of other hybrids: 8 miles on the freeway at 65 miles per hour, 8 miles on the boulevard at 50 miles per hour with random traffic lights, then the rest on the streets at 30 miles per hour with more frequent stops.

Ford does a good job of charging and climating, and if you drove the Escape PHEV every day, you’d include it in your cabin warm-up routine before you commute to work – and you’ve probably gone a few more electric miles afterwards.

Escape PHEV has excellent hybrid efficiency without charging. On the 53-mile loop I passed with a number of hybrids, going at altitudes of 300 feet to 1,000 and back, including easier motorway rides, country roads and boulevards at 40 miles per hour, I got an average of an excellent 46 mpg. And on another informal cycle of shorter, city-wide errands, the Escape PHEV stopped at an average of close to 40 miles per gallon.

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

The Escape Hybrid is now available with all-wheel drive available – via a cardan shaft system – but the Plug-In Hybrid remains front-wheel drive only. The Toyota RAV4 Primeon the contrary, it is much more powerful and has a rear engine that allows all-wheel drive in electric mode, while a larger battery simply increases the power reserve to 42 miles.

High in efficiency, low in Polishness and spiciness

While the Escape PHEV’s powertrain is a performance professional, the rest of the vehicle is unlikely to feel at ease. This is the heaviest Escape in the lineup, estimated at 3,870 pounds in all PHEVs, and the Titanium I’ve ridden is at the top of the PHEV weight range. It didn’t feel anywhere near as nimble, tossing in tight turns as in the last Escape I rode, and while the suspension absorbed the jolts, it got awkwardly strayed on country roads.

Michelin Primacy A / S 225 / 60R18 tires, probably chosen because of their low rolling resistance, carried some noise from the road to the cabin and began to sound at surprisingly low Gs – possibly due to colder weather as well as weight .

I charged PHEV again to understand its limits. At EV Now, it accelerates to 60 mph in about 15 seconds – about twice as long as in hybrid mode – and rises to 85 mph on electric, according to Ford. I didn’t go there because the acceleration is getting slower above 50 mph and completely tiring above 65 mph.

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid - accelerator

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid – accelerator

The reminder that the electric mode is in the second stage is that every time you are in EV Now mode, a message is stored in the middle of the instrument panel reminding you to press “OK” on the steering wheel switch to turn on the petrol engine . Just press for the real thing; you know what you want.

It’s also a rough car in hybrid mode. The gas engine switches to background sound every time you are at cruising speed, but the acceleration sounds intentional.

“Auto EV” is essentially the default if you intentionally do not turn on “EV Now”, and it charges when you have it – but the engine runs in full mode, but did not press the gas – and then works as a hybrid. This is exactly how Ford’s previous Energi PHEVs were by default, and it shows Ford’s cards here in positioning this model for people who want to connect daily but are free to mix their petrol and electrons – if you ask me, they’re getting smaller.

Although I personally haven’t traveled lately Escape Hybridthe version of the same system really shines in Maverick Hybrid and I would expect the same for Escape. y Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, Ford does have a hybrid system that drives the rear wheels with a separate engine, which increases the total power to 266 hp. It has the greatest charm potential of Ford PHEV technology and we will test it soon.

The 2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is available in SE, SEL and Titanium versions starting at $ 36,685, $ 39,420 and $ 41,930 – in each case the premium is more than $ 5,000 compared to the hybrid versions of each respective finish. However, Escape PHEV buyers can claim $ 6,843 in federal tax credit for EVs, making the built-in version actually cheaper – if you have a tax liability.

The entire Escape line has been significantly expanded by 2022. My test Escape Titanium Plug-In Hybrid had a window sticker for 2021 (slightly lower prices) and a price at the bottom of $ 43,025. This included, in addition to the added cost of Rapid Red metallic paint, a $ 2,500 Titanium premium package that included a panoramic roof, mats and a wireless charging pad.

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

The changes in 2022 are minimal, but the most important thing about the test car I had is that the panoramic roof is no longer part of the Titanium Premium package, which has raised the price of comparable 2022 to $ 46,095, according to Ford assembly tool.

Purely in specifications, the Titanium basically costs up to $ 44,445 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid Limited. Dual-zone climate control, electrically heated front seats, heated steering wheel, premium Bang & Olufsen sound, automated parking system, adaptive cruise control and navigation. The infotainment system is an 8.0-inch touchscreen and the older Ford Sync 3 system, but it’s a beautiful, clean interface with wired compatibility between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

This top model I rode made me scratch my head mostly about her looks. When it comes to seat comfort, reclining seats and cargo space, that’s all there is to it to be competitive. But for a vehicle with such a price it felt boring and simple. The interior design isn’t as durable and upright as the Bronco Sport or Maverick – which is good, but it feels like a nice, sporty tidy car lifted high by adding a sea of ​​plastic trim in the middle, center console, door trim and ventilation zones. Unfortunately, these are the most common points.

Good place around the price, but doesn’t make sense as verified

The base SE Plug-In Hybrid is where I see the deal – where the price of the sticker doesn’t overlap with the electric crossover with the Ford Mustang Mach-E rechargeable battery (and it totally outperforms it).

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

Conclusion: Getting a hybrid hybrid at the same effective price as a hybrid – as for most buyers – is a good idea for those who can’t fully bond with electricity. This should be a simple matter given the extra potential for emissions-free driving. But it’s not as convincing as it could be.

Until then, I feel controversy about this decision. And it would help if Escape PHEV became clearer than it is trying to be. Speaking of Ford, a slightly greater commitment to “EV Now” will be very important.

Note: This review is based on the experience of driving the 2021 Escape Plug-In Hybrid, but the 2022 Escape Plug-In Hybrid models are now available at dealerships.

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